What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is one of the B Vitamins. It is essential for red blood cell and DNA formation, and for brain and nerve cell development and function. Clearly, it is a very important nutrient for our bodies.
Vitamin B12 and Plant-Based Diets
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal products such as fish, red meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products. If you eat a diet consisting of plant-based foods, you will need to fortify your diet in a different way to ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin B12.
Plant-based sources include:
- Fortified soy milk
- Fortified rice milk
- Fortified nutritional yeast (such as the one we use in Eat by Alex recipes)
- Fortified cereal
- Vitamin B12 supplement (ensure to find a supplement that has been tested and regulated)
- Shitake mushrooms (small amount so use it more as a B12 boost!)
Ensuring you have enough Vitamin B12 is essential to prevent a deficiency, which can have serious health effects. Learn more here.
Vitamin B12 Supplementation
Vitamin B12 supplements recommend a daily serving far above the recommended dietary allowance as the amount actually absorbed by your body is lower. Along with that, the recommended daily value for Vitamin B12 for adults (2.4 mcg) provides the minimum amount to prevent deficiency. In studies examining the health benefits of Vitamin B12, values much higher than the recommended daily value were used. Taking more than the recommended daily value will not harm your health in any way as excess Vitamin B12 is excreted in urine.
Supplementing with a dose above the recommended daily value is not harmful for those not receiving Vitamin B12 from their diet regularly, but instead beneficial to ensure they do not have a deficiency.
Before taking a Vitamin B12 supplement, discuss with a registered dietitian to see what option is best for you.